The Bradley Speech Team had a big reputation to live up to at last week’s National Forensic Association National Championships, since Bradley claims the most national championships in collegiate history.
The team came back from Springfield, Mo., this year with second place in the nation, a number of top-12 placements in various categories and Vanessa Carranza won the national championship in the dramatic interpretation event.
Daniel Smith, the director of forensics, said he was pleased with the results, especially because many of the team members had never been to nationals before.
“Our team was both small and young this season,” Smith said, “Almost half of our 23 members were first-year members. With that kind of inexperience, the pressure of nationals is even higher, because you don’t know what to expect yet.”
Despite the stress of national competition, Smith said many of the team members made it to the first quarterfinal, semifinal or final which puts the team in a good position for next year.
The freshmen students who participated in nationals this year said the previous success Bradley has had at the competition didn’t cause too much pressure.
“The coaches and other teammates have faith in us and that gives us faith in ourselves,” said Camille Yameen, who placed in the quarterfinals for two categories. “Knowing we did as well as we possibly could help too.”
The speech team’s president said he thinks everyone put a lot of effort into the competition and that’s what really counts.
“I feel like this year there was a lot of growth,” said Elijah Misigaro, who placed in the semi-finals for one category and in the top six for another. “Everyone stepped up to the challenges at nationals. Especially the freshmen – some made top 12 in the nation.”
Other members of the team’s executive board said they plan to cultivate these individual talents for next year’s competition.
“We didn’t get all the results we wanted, but there were great individual results,” said secretary Maddy Wilson, who placed in the quarterfinals for one category. “Next year we’ll work on translating those into team results.”
Misigaro explained the team begin working for next year’s competition right away.
“Preparation for next year starts now,” he said. “A lot of people work a forensic camp for high school students and that helps get us in the mentality of training.”
Smith said he thinks the team will need to step up for next year, but he has faith in its ability to succeed.
“It will be up to next year’s seniors to not just handle, but channel that pressure and expectation into something productive and successful,” he said. “I look forward to next year’s seniors leading this team back to the top. They are certainly talented and focused enough to do so.”
The team’s preparations begin in the summer and it starts traveling to competitions in September.
The last time Bradley’s team took home the national championship was in 2005.